BOWIE, MD (WUSA9) - Just over a week before Christmas, a group of missionaries and physicians from a local church are spreading hope and holiday cheer in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
A small team from Greater Mt. Nebo A.M.E. left for Haiti Monday to hand-deliver donations and provide free medical treatment to patients in several clinics. The goal by the end of the week is to treat 1,000 patients.
Dr. Raymon Nelson is one of the physicians on the ground. Since the cholera outbreak, a bacterial disease that is typically contracted from contaminated water, there is still a great need for treatment.
"There's antibodies that are very affective against cholera," Dr. Nelson explained. "You can actually treat it with a single dose and that's what we're prepared to do."
When WUSA*9 caught up with Paster Jonathan Weaver and the team who traveled with him from the church to the caribbean country, they were bagging up toothbrushes and other donated items for people who need them.
With the help of donations from organizations across the area, 74 boxes stuffed with clothing, toiletries and games were shipped off weeks ago. The group took 25 boxes with them. Eight suitcases filled with $15,000 worth of free medication were shipped off as well.
Charles Williams is one of the volunteers. He could not wait for the opportunity to help the people of Haiti after the hurricane barreled through. Aside from clinics, the team will visit orphanages as well.
"When you see people in need and you know you can help them, that's what you really want to do," Williams said.
It was in early October when the Category 4 hurricane wreaked havoc on Haiti. More than 1,000 lives were taken. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless. The country never fully recovered from a 7.0-Magnitude earthquake in 2010, so humanitarian aid is critical.
"There's dire need for assistance," said Weaver, who told WUSA*9 the team will support the local economy by purchasing bottled water while down they are down there.
The team arrives back to the U.S. Saturday morning.
Weaver said the humanitarian trip to Haiti will be an annual one.